Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe recently admitted that trade rumors have weighed on him, but the Pistons are telling inquiring teams that Monroe isn't on the market, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
This latest report remains consistent with what has been said all along about Monroe's situation, despite the fact that he's a restricted free agent and the three-big lineup has been a failure thus far in Detroit. While the Pistons are only a half-game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, they're just 18-27 and have suffered some especially bad losses of late.
The three-big lineup of Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith has never figured things out this season, especially on the defensive end. When those three are on the court together, the Pistons are giving up a whopping 108.6 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com's stats page. The offense hasn't been much better when that trio shares the floor, with poor spacing being one of the main issues.
Because of the Pistons' struggles with the big lineup, head coach Maurice Cheeks has gone away from it at the end of games. However, it's Monroe who has been the odd man out, which has led to the speculation that he could be dealt. Detroit could look to trade Monroe for a sorely needed upgrade on the wing, which would then permanently move Smith to his more natural position at the 4.
But the Pistons -- at least for now -- seem committed to making things work with all three bigs on the roster. However, if there's little improvement leading up to the trade deadline, that tune might change. And while dealing Smith and his bloated contract would probably be the most desirable move, it could be hard to find a taker. This then leaves Monroe or Drummond, and with Monroe's status as a highly coveted restricted free agent along with the Pistons' commitment to Drummond as a franchise cornerstone, it's rather obvious who would likely be on the move.